Vietnam beat Myanmar in pre-SEA Games tourney’s opener

Vietnam’s U23 football team defeated U23 Myanmar 5-0 in their opening game of the Vietnam Football Federation-Eximbank Cup at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi Wednesday. The tournament is considered a warm-up for this year’s Southeast Asia Games in Indonesia, which will see football competition start on November 3.

Vietnam under German coach Falko Goetz started the match with their strongest lineup, inspired by playmaker and captain Pham Thanh Luong.

U23 Vietnam captain Pham Thanh Luong (R) fights for the ball against a Myanmar player during their Vietnam Football Federation-Eximbank Cup game in Hanoi Oct. 19, 2011. Vietnam won 5-0. (Photo: Sai Gon Giai Phong)

The Myanmar side, coached by Swedish tactician Stefan Hansson, began with pressing forces and this put the home side in difficulties during the first 30 minutes.

However, striker Hoang Thien fired for the home side after escaping an offside trap in the 34th minute, finishing with a low shot. It was him who broadened the gap four minutes later after Vietnam midfielder Van Thang’s finish bounced back from a Myanmar defender.

Just before the break, Vietnam skipper Luong was tackled down in the penalty box and defender Chu Ngoc Anh converted the penalty kick into the home side’s third goal.

Four minutes into the second half, the Vietnamese captain made it 4-0 from a close-range low shot.

Vietnam then played slowly, resulting in continual attacks from Myanmar but they failed to net. Just before the final whistle, the Vietnamese captain scored again with a high-up ball over the Myanmar keeper.

In the other game in the VFF-Eximbank Cup Wednesday, defending SEA Games champions U23 Malaysia lost 1-3 to U23 Uzbekistan.

The tournament sees Malaysia, Myanmar, Uzbekistan and Vietnam compete in a round robin format for a US$25,000 cash prize at My Dinh National Stadium from Wednesday to Sunday.

Also on Wednesday, the 26th SEA Games organizers in Indonesia held a football draw for the 11 participating teams. The hosts are in Group A together with defending champions Malaysia, regional powerhouse Thailand, Singapore and Cambodia. Group B has six teams: Brunei, East Timor, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The group stage will take place from November 3 to 17. The top two teams of each group will go through to the semifinals.

By staff reporters, combined by Tuong Thuy

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